Picture by Tambako the Jaguar / Getty Images, African Lion Facts: Habitat, Diet, Behavior, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T22732A50664030.en, Fading footprints; the killing and trade of snow leopards, Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College. Snow leopards prey upon the blue sheep (bharal) of Tibet and the Himalayas, as well as the mountain ibex found over most of the rest of their range. Snow leopards are the only big cats that call the cold deserts of Asia home. The snow leopard has several physical characteristics that are adapted to its environment. Their short forelimbs and long hind limbs make them very agile, and they can j… Snow leopards are solitary, mountain-dwelling mammals found throughout 12 countries in Central and South Asia. In Nepal, their main prey are blue sheep…which aren’t actually blue Over 60% of the world's snow leopards live in China. Leopard facts. Herders sometimes kill snow leopards to prevent or retaliate against predation of their domestic animals. Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan, where DSWF supports ground-based work, are two of the world’s most key and significant snow leopard habitats. These deserts are also known as the third pole because they contain ice fields with the largest reserves of freshwater outside the northern and southern polar regions. They’re not just cute. They have a small and decreasing population throughout a large … Climate change is raising the average temperature across the snow leopard’s home range, which scientists believe will shrink the species' alpine habitat and drive competition with other predators like leopards, wild dogs, and tigers. Snow leopards, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), are considered vulnerable, which means that they are in danger of being considered endangered. The snow leopard’s powerful build allows it to scale great steep slopes with ease. Living in the rugged mountains, snow leopards are perfect for adjusting to the cold. These spotted leopards live in the mountains across a vast range of Asia. Snow leopards do not hunt adult yaks or humans. That said, creating protected areas for these big cats has only helped so much: According to one study, 40 percent of those protected areas are too small for the wide-roaming snow leopard. All rights reserved. Usually they are solitary, but pairs have been known to hunt together. The scientific name for the snow leopard is Panthera uncia. These traits also distinguish the snow leopard from other big cats. They’re well adapted to their cold environment They weigh between 22 – 52 kilograms (48 – 115 pounds), but males will be around a third larger than females. Protected areas have been established throughout their range, including sanctuaries in Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Kyrgyzstan. 50+ Facts About Snow Leopards Quick Facts. Population, Habitat, and Range. At that point, the young cats travel great distances to seek their new home. Wild snow leopard in a blizzard in Pakistan. Strangely, their scientific name (which was recently changed from Uncia uncia) was originally used to describe the European Lynx, and … 100 cm (40 inches) The snow leopard is perfectly adapted to its habitat Its extra large paws keep the cat from sinking into the snow- like a pair of natural snow shoes. Most leopards are light coloured and have dark spots on their fur. While snow leopards are protected over part of their range, hunting and poaching pose a major threat to their survival. Snow leopards have powerful legs and are tremendous jumpers, able to leap as far as 50 feet. The snow leopard's fur camouflages the cat against rocky terrain and protects it from cold temperatures. In recent years, a concerted effort has begun to save snow leopards. Snow leopards may be considered among the one of most beautiful creatures on this planet, but they’re also an interesting and special member of the cat family. Their fur keeps them well insulated in cold weather - it can be 5cm... 2. Height: 55-65 cm (22 – 26 inches) Length: 90 – 115 cm (36 – 44 inches) Tail: ca. Its round, short ears reduce heat … The snow leopard is one of the most elusive big cat species found in high, remote mountainous regions of Central Asia. They are insulated by thick hair—in shades of gray or creamy yellow and covered with grayish black spots—and their wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes. Snow leopards live at high elevations in mountainous regions of Central Asia. Others are building awareness about the important role these big cats play in their environment. They can also be found in the Tibetan Plateau and across a range that stretches from China to the mountains of Central Asia. After a 90-100 day gestation, she gives birth to one to five black-spotted cubs. Snow Leopards are one of the most beautiful and mystical wild cats. Size and Weight: They are probably not as big as other cats such as tigers are, but they do survive in areas where no other big cat dares to live. As an apex predator, adult snow leopards are not hunted by other animals. Snow leopards and African leopards are part of the Panthera genus. Snow leopards become sexually mature between two and three years of age, and they mate in late winter. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. WWF relies on spot patterns to identify individual snow leopards when conducting camera trap research. Estimated Snow Leopard Population by Country. In the wild, most cats live between 15 and 18 years, but snow leopards live about 25 years in captivity. Vanishing habitat and the decline of the cats’ large mammal prey are also contributing factors. Essentially, snow leopards will eat any animal that's two to four times their own weight or less. Snow leopards are the only species of big cat that inhabit the cold deserts of High Asia. While other big cats have golden eyes, the snow leopard's eyes are gray or green. Habitat loss is another significant threat to the snow leopard. Snow leopards are physically the smallest members of the group of animals known as the ‘big cats’. Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. The snow leopard inhabits the mountains of central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, ranging from an elevation of about 1,800 metres (about 6,000 feet) in the winter to about 5,500 metres (18,000 feet) in the summer. These cats appear to be in dramatic decline—they've lost at least 20 percent of their population in two decades as a result. While they aren't aggressive toward humans, snow leopards do not make good pets because they require considerable space and raw meat, and males spray to mark territory. These spots are called “rosettes” because their shape is similar to that of a rose.There are also black leopards, too, whose spots are hard to see because their fur is so dark. An additional 600 snow leopards live in captivity. Top 10 facts about snow leopards 1. 1. One Indian snow leopard, protected and observed in a national park, is reported to have consumed five blue sheep, nine Tibetan woolly hares, 25 marmots, five domestic goats, one domestic sheep, and 15 birds in a single year. The other name for the snow leopard is the "ounce." Adult males weigh 60 – 121 pounds whereas females weigh up to 55 pounds only. Humans also hunt the snow leopard's prey, forcing the animal to encroach on human settlements to find food. Where do snow leopards live? In the Summer months snow leopards will stay high up in the mountains, in the Winter months they will come down from the mountains and enter forests. Like domestic kittens, snow leopard cubs are blind at birth. In the summer, the snow leopards live above the tree line from 2,700 to 6,000 m (8,900 to 19,700 ft), but in the winter they descend to forests between 1,200 and 2,000 m (3,900 to 6,600 ft). They are shy and reclusive, and rarely seen in the wild. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. A large male may reach 75 kg (165 lb), while a small female may weigh under 25 kg (55 lb). Cubs may be eaten by birds of prey, but only humans hunt the adult cats. Snow leopards are missing a larynx, found in other big cats and instead of roaring like a lion or tiger, they hiss, growl and mew, and wail. Their lives are also threatened by poaching, driven by illegal trades in pelts and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. The snow leopard was on the endangered species list from 1972 until 2017. Also unlike other big cats, the snow leopard cannot roar. Though they may look like Leopard ghosts, genetic tests link Snow Leopards more closely to Tigers. The snow leopard is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN-World Conservation Union’s Red List of the Threatened Species. These animals prefer to live in the high alpine and subalpine areas, preferably at an... 3. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Laurascudder, GNU Free Documentation License. It communicates using mews, growls, chuffing, hisses, and wails. It … Their tails are between 80 to 105 cm (31 – 41 inches) long. A long tail provides balance and agility and also wraps around the resting snow leopard as protection from the cold. That’s why these carnivores require an enormous amount of space to roam: Male leopards require up to 80 square miles—an area bigger than three Manhattans—while females have ranges of up to 48 square miles. Snow leopards live at high elevations in mountainous regions of … 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. These big cats use their long tails for balance and as blankets to cover sensitive body parts against the severe mountain chill. They’re fierce, fast and fur-ocious – join National Geographic Kids as we check out these amazing leopard facts!. However, snow leopards are still fairly big animals, weighing around 25-55+ kg (60-120+ lbs). Male snow leopards are larger than females, but they have a similar appearance. Global warming increases the altitude of the tree line, diminishing the range of the cat and its prey. The latter was particularly good news: Kyrgyzstan’s mountains serve as a corridor for snow leopards traveling between the northern and southern ends of their range. Basic Snow Leopard Facts 1. What about a baby snow leopard? Snow leopards are carnivores that actively hunt prey, including Himalayan blue sheep, tahr, argali, markor, deer, monkeys, birds, young camels and horses, marmots, pikas, and voles. Snow leopards are found at altitudes between 9,800 and 17,000 feet in the high, mountains of Central Asia. The female finds a rocky den, which she lines with fur from her belly. Their bodies (including their tails) are between 6 and 7.5 feet long. Snow leopards have powerful legs and are tremendous jumpers, able to leap as far as 50 feet. Due to hunting by farmers whose livestock are threatened by these large predators and the continuing loss of their habitat, the population has decreased by twenty percent in the past sixteen years. Snow leopards have thick grey and yellow-tinged fur, with solid spots on their head, neck and lower limbs and rosettes over the rest of the body. Snow leopards are also the apex predator of their habitat and usually predate on mountain sheep and goats. Living in Northern range countries at a height of 10000 feet, there are currently only 6000 snow leopards left that are living in the wilderness. On average, a snow leopard's length is between 75 and 150 cm (30 to 59 in), plus a tail that's 80 to 105 cm (31 to 41 in) long. Learn about these felines and how they expertly hunt agile prey. Its patterned coat helps it blend in with the steep rocky slopes above the tree line in the Asian mountains. Snow leopard cubs have black spots that turn into rosettes as the cats approach maturity. Its hind legs give the snow leopard the ability to leap six times the length of its body. The snow leopard's main prey in Nepal - blue... 3. Its short muzzle and small ears also help the animal conserve heat. Top 15 Amazing Facts About Snow Leopards 1. Facts about snow leopard: 1. Here are 10 facts about SnowLeopards. The cat's huge paws have fur on the bottom that gives the leopard traction on the snow and protection from sharp rocks. Snow leopards are unique and have many factors that separate them from the other big cats in the world. Just remember that leopard cubs will turn into incredibly dangerous predators. Snow leopards play a key role as both a top predator and as an indicator of the health of their high-altitude habitat, ranging from an elevation of about 6,000 feet in the winter to about 18,000 feet in the summer. Thick fur also covers the cat's large paws, helping to grip slick surfaces and minimize heat loss. 2. In addition, the snow leopard, like all big cats, is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which makes trading of animal body parts (i.e., fur, bones and meat) illegal in signatory countries. Commercial and residential development reduces the available habitat. Snow leopards typically live in sub-alpine and alpine zones at heights ranging from 9800 to 14800 feet above sea level, and are one of the native animals of the Himalayas. Snow leopards can be found throughout high mountain ranges, including the Himalayas and the southern Siberian mountains in Russia. They live in high areas The wild goats and sheep they prey on are quite nimble at leaping from rock to rock—and so are snow leopards! Snow leopards are arguably the most charismatic big cats in the world the thick fur long tails dark spots and mysterious habits make them truly fascinating and stunning species. The expansion of human settlement, especially livestock grazing, has led to increased conflict. These large cats are usually 75-150cm long and weigh between 25-55kg, with an exception of some male cats who weigh up to 75kg. Snow leopards are weaned by 10 weeks of age and remain with their mother for up to 18-22 months. 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